284. Ten Shaligram Stones

Gandaki River, Nepal, ancient


Alchemical toy-cupboard

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One of Jean-Claude’s abiding passions was for mysterious stones. He would bring out of his pocket a frosted rock crystal pebble and make you gaze into it through a small polished window. And there you would see the Universe, with particular clarity after a joint. I have no idea what he knew of these stones, but he kept them for a long time and so valued them greatly. They are usually said to be aniconic representations of Vishnu, but I have been assured by someone who knows about these things that their point is that they represent the ‘Divine Pussy’. It seems obvious once you look at them, and would explain why Jean-Claude never sold them.

a. A grey-brown hardstone compressed sphere, river-polished, pierced by a small double-punched hole to one side. Size: 13.5 cm diameter
b. A black hardstone near-spherical pebble, river-polished, with a gash along one side. Size: 7.5 cm diameter
c. A black hardstone pebble with five nobbles, river-polished. Size: 9.5 cm long
d. A black hardstone gourd-shaped pebble, river-polished. Size: 6.5 cm long
e. A black hardstone pebble shaped like a lemon, river-polished. Size: 6.5 cm long
f. A black hardstone nobbled pebble with a trilobite emerging on one side, and a small antlered quadruped engraved above. River-polished. Size: 7.5 cm long
g. A rough-surfaced black-brown pebble with a trilobite on its surface. Size: 5.5 cm long
h. A flat black hardstone pebble, river-polished, drilled with two craters of different sizes on the upper side, the underside roughened and drilled with three small holes. Size: 14 cm long (The two small beads following may, or may not, be associated with it.)
i. Two black hardstone beads, river-polished, the larger drilled with a single hole, the smaller with a carefully divided double piercing. Size: 3.5 and 2.8 cm diameter.